Ucross ushered in a new era of leadership this month. On April 1, William Belcher took the helm as President, and he has appointed Vickie Abbott as Managing Director. Ensuring a smooth transition, former Ucross President Sharon Dynak will continue with the organization part-time as a Creative Advisor.
Belcher has dedicated his career to working with cultural organizations that support artists and the creation of new work. He served as Ucross’s Director of Development and External Relations for four years and brings more than 20 years of experience in art administration with high-level positions in development.
“Over the last four years, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Sharon and the Ucross team, and of course, I’ve had the honor of working with so many amazing Ucross artists,” Belcher said. “It’s a special place, and I’m honored to take on this leadership role at such an important and exciting time in the organization’s history.”
Prior to Ucross, Belcher served as Director of Development at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and Director of External Affairs at The Hyde Collection. As a consultant, he helped dozens of arts organizations with strategic planning, campaign planning, grant writing, fundraising, institutional messaging, and board development. His clients have included the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Skidmore College, Collar Works (Elizabeth Murray Artist Residency Program), and others. He has served on the boards of Caffe Lena, a historic folk music venue, and Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education, a community art center. Belcher is also a published novelist whose debut novel, Lay Down Your Weary Tune, was released by Other Press in 2016.
To oversee the day-to-day operations, Belcher has appointed Vickie Abbott as the Managing Director. A longtime friend of the organization, Abbott managed the neighboring guest ranch, the Ranch at UCross, for the past 14 years with her husband, Eric Wilhelm. Previously, Abbott taught in public schools for 22 years — including a stint in Western Australia. She also served on the board of the Park County Arts Council to bring the arts to rural Wyoming schools.
“Born and raised on a Wyoming ranch and having spent most of my life living and working in rural Wyoming, I’ve come to value the solace and the simple and clear thinking that come from spending time in wide open spaces,” Abbott said. “I’m looking forward to combining my skills and passions and sharing this wild, fragile vastness of the west with the artists who will spend time on our Wyoming ranch.”
Over the past three months, Belcher and Abbott worked closely with the previous Ucross President, Sharon Dynak, to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. In her position as Creative Advisor, Dynak aims to support Belcher, Abbott, and the staff.
“We thank Sharon for her many years of leadership, her dedication, and her vision. Her leadership was inspiring, and we’re grateful that she’ll continue to serve Ucross as Creative advisor,” Belcher said. “Also, I want to welcome Vickie, and I look forward to working with her and the staff to ensure Ucross’s continued success.”